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Showrooms are entering some uncharted waters right now. While customers have, for the most part, been trapped in their homes looking at things they would like to upgrade and change, their main source of shopping has been online. Service providers such as Grubhub and other delivery services have upped the game for customer expectations as well.
For showrooms to remain relevant, services will have to be added to adapt to the environment. I strongly believe there will be a need for brick-and-mortar showrooms, but the customer will use them differently unless the experience becomes elevated.
I believe that when the world begins to return to any sort of normal, customers will be more organized and purposeful when shopping as they will do even more online prep work before considering a visit to a showroom. This lends itself to a great opportunity to “wow” the customer and make a lasting impression — or disappoint the customer with an average experience and force them to go back to online shopping.
Choosing to elevate customers’ experience will make them into lifelong customers and fans. Even customers who are sympathetic to supporting small businesses and local companies will not tolerate a bad shopping experience.
There are many ways to elevate a customer’s experience in your store. Key strategies include building peaks, spontaneity, constructing and seeking insights. By following these practices, you will create customer experiences that will have them turning to you for their every need. It is important to remember that as customers are looking to add health and wellness to their homes, the better they feel about the purchasing experience will increase their satisfaction.
Showrooms have the benefit of allowing customers to physically try the product. Invite your customers to touch and try the products they are looking at; this allows them to picture using those items in their homes. You are creating a vision of what their future could look like with this product in their lives. Experience rooms such as steam rooms are a perfect example of what is needed in the showroom of today.
You also can elevate customer experiences by making them want to record the moment. Seek out opportunities to allow your customers to interact with the product and take photos. You want to make the showroom experience memorable for each customer and make them want to share it with their friends.
Building peaks through experience requires investment in your showroom. Working products from light fixtures to kitchen faucets require employees with installation knowledge or some contractor friends who can help you at a lower cost of install.
Pleasant surprises will make your customers feel valued and important. Defy expectations of a routine showroom sale. Consider offering a complimentary lunch while making selections in the showroom. Doing the unexpected makes a customer feel special. Spontaneity loses its touch when done too often — but can have a powerful effect when used correctly.
Part of spontaneity is creating a sense of urgency. Find out what your customer’s specific goals are and offer a limited-time bonus. Limited-time offers that accompany already existing goals will make customers feel as if they are making the right choice. It will validate their wants to buy it now, thus providing elevation.
For example, an element of urgency could be to help them save freight costs on an order by ordering this week and having their order ship with others free of freight. It may be a positive experience for them if communicated correctly.
Your customers are already coming into the showroom with a project in mind. They never enter just for fun. Leading your customers to realize their dreams are possible — and then being ready with a solution even better than they expected — will elevate your customers’ experience. Having the right people on your team with the knowledge of the products you have on display helps create that customer delight.
Only offering the same products the local home centers do is a practice that has to change. Those brands sold in your showroom and Home Depot are not on your team, despite what their reps tell you.
Customers are coming into your showroom because they want something better than what a home center offers. Period. They want to shop where the professionals do. It is not about price, its about quality. When you can show customers quality, and back it up with great service, the sale is yours.
Becoming a trusted advisor and designer for the customer starts with the right product mix in your showroom and being committed to learning those brands’ features and benefits. Learn from customers’ expectations. Change your business to meet the frequent requests of your customers in the marketplace.
Seek Insights Internally
A vital part of successfully elevating a customer’s experience is discovering what would make that customer not just buy but become a fan of your business and promote it to other possible customers. Would free, white-glove delivery make that happen? Would installation help? Again, this is something customers don’t expect you to do. In our ever-changing world, we must step up our service offerings to make the sale happen.
You need to reflect on your current business practices and seek out areas of improvement. This may feel uncomfortable, but seeking out weaknesses and then correcting them will give you a stronger company. Look at what your competition is doing better than you — go visit them and do a secret shop.
Encourage everyone on your team to examine their strengths and weaknesses, and ask them to provide examples of businesses they love to work with and why. There is no better time to find ways to reduce friction and make customers’ lives easier.
Exceptional customer service will bring you life-long customers. The benefit of having a showroom for kitchen and bath products is it allows you an opportunity to elevate every experience by having customers actually feel the quality of the products — no online source can do that.
Your customers are looking to add items to their homes they will see every day. If you make the buying experience a positive one, they will share their experience with others. It will make them not just a customer, but a fan.